Tát-āgathā

The literature of this period shows that Siddhartha Gautama’s formal schooling, that of a high-born Kshatriya Prince, was firmly in the classic Dharmic paradigm.

He was educated under the stern eye of five established Brahmin scholars. The first Upaniṣads would have been standard fare for every beleaguered student of his rank and of his day.

Siddhartha Gautama’s chosen name for himself was not as ‘The Buddha’ [a later appellation] but as the Tát-āgathā [literally, ‘That-Gone’] againthe same Tát [‘That’] of the Rig Veda.

A Tát-āgathā is one: ‘Entered in Tát’ [‘That’] or in its literal but more ambiguous translation: ‘That-Gone’.

It says nothing about any ‘Object’ [such as an imagined ‘That’]. It is all about the Subject. Or rather, the absence of it.


Unlike in the mystical Upaniṣadic verses, ‘Self’ in the Buddhist Sūtric articulation is consistently an empirical one. It is not simply to be asserted but directly observed in undeniable inferential link, as an identifiable Subject in counterpoint to an identified Object.

A-natman [‘No-Self’: See the Post] is the element that differentiates the literature of the Buddha-Dharma from its Vedic roots. But what is common to both is the centrality of the Self-Negating Expression.

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